T&D: Planning Complex Instructional Development Efforts

If It’s Worth Doing – It’s Probably Complex

Or Tricky. If it’s simple – leave it to Informal.

I use an ADDIE-like framework for planning, and then managing, ISD efforts. As a Consultant (since 1982) I use this to determine my costs and the risks, and then to price – fixed fee – for my client’s consideration.

I prefer Fixed Fee to Time & Expense. More on that later.

A Complex ISD Effort usually has several Work-streams. The diagram below portrays 3 – which really isn’t that complex – compared to other efforts I’ve been involved with over the past decades.


This next graphic is an example where the Analysis & Design are being done separately but in parallel.


This next graphic is an example where the Analysis & Design are being done together at the same time and in the same space.


I prefer detailed Project Planning – again, because my desire is to Propose the effort Fixed Fee.

I had been burned as an internal T&D staff member at Motorola back in 1981/2 by “Consultants” who bid the work Time & Expense and then Change Ordered me to death (so to speak). So I vowed to never do that as a consultant.

And I have never used a Change Order in hundreds of consulting engagements.


I also prefer Fixed Fee because the client is less inclined to make arbitrary changes through the course of the effort.

And that is also a function of the depth of Analysis preceding Design – and my use of their handpicked Master Performers in both Analysis & Design – and who can argue about arbitrary things with Master Performers?


My two articles on this from Way back in the Day… 1986 and 1992…

Proj Mgmt – CNSPI -1986 – 9 page PDF – originally published in the Chicago Chapter of NSPI (ISPI) Newsletter in December 1986 – on my Project Management Techniques for Project Definition, Project Planning and Project Communications.

The Detailed Project Plan – GWW – 1992 – 4 page PDF – originally published in the Svenson & Wallace, Inc. newsletter: Management Update – in the Summer of 1992.

And it’s also covered in my 1999 book – lean-ISD.

Free Book PDF: lean-ISD (1999)

Click on image to link to the download page.

Note: the cover design for “lean-ISD” was created by the late Geary A. Rummler.

Note: Guy W. Wallace’s book “lean-ISD” – was a recipient of a 2002 Award of Excellence for Instructional Communication from the International Society for Performance Improvement.

lean-ISD is also available as a $15 paperback book – and $7.50 as a Kindle – for more information and/or to order – please go – here.

Staff Development

I’ve also developed my own staff – dozens and dozens – and the staffs of a half-dozen or so clients in my or an adapted approach to Project Planning & Management.

Contact me via email for more info:


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